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By Farrington C.P., Kanaan M.N.

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Extra resources for Branching process models for surveillance of infectious diseases controlled by mass vaccination

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One of the aspects of this discussion is the issue of vitalism versus materialism (Bernard, 1966, p. 110). From this viewpoint, Bernard’s polemics against vitalism do not result in a total rejection of vitalism, but only to a qualified rejection. In one way, he says, vitalism is pure superstition, when it denies the efforts aimed at reducing vital phenomena to determined organic, physical and chemical conditions. This is perhaps the first appearance of reductionism in the Introduction. However, Bernard goes on to say that he would agree with vitalists if vitalists could recognise only that living beings offer phenomena which are not found in non-living things and are thus particular to them.

The problem is to calculate this difference. This is an extremely complex problem but a purely cognitive one, and one of pure science. I did not find the word ‘reductionism’ in Claude Bernard’s Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (Bernard, 1966). However, there are several occurrences of the verb ‘to reduce’ as well as occurrences of a verb with a close meaning, ‘ramener’, which means to bring back or reduce. These occurrences are found in very important passages of the work, where Bernard discusses the relevance of physics and chemistry for medicine.

1). We must see that all of it has indeed been a global advance of chemistry in compartments. To be more effective, an organisation must compartmentalise and communicate. The above illustrates the general sense of this change, although the whole picture is more complicated. Compartments need not belong to the same organism, although all organisms must have the same cytoplasmic metabolism. An obvious development is symbiosis. There is no life without bacteria because they are simple manufacturing units for basic chemicals for all life forms to this day.

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